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Overview

Consisting of the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island on the planet and one of the few hypersaline lagoons in the world, Padre Island National Seashore offers a wide variety of activities to visitors. On the barrier island itself, beach driving, camping, and bicycling are popular activities. This is also a beachcombing mecca, thanks to currents converging on the central Texas coast from all over the Gulf of Mexico. Snorkeling, diving, and swimming are tops in the Gulf of Mexico itself. And in Laguna Madre, the aforementioned hypersaline lagoon, fishing, boating, and windsurfing are the dominant recreational activities. The lagoon ...

Consisting of the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island on the planet and one of the few hypersaline lagoons in the world, Padre Island National Seashore offers a wide variety of activities to visitors. On the barrier island itself, beach driving, camping, and bicycling are popular activities. This is also a beachcombing mecca, thanks to currents converging on the central Texas coast from all over the Gulf of Mexico. Snorkeling, diving, and swimming are tops in the Gulf of Mexico itself. And in Laguna Madre, the aforementioned hypersaline lagoon, fishing, boating, and windsurfing are the dominant recreational activities. The lagoon is also a popular stopover for migratory birds in fall and spring. Beyond the 380 species of birds that frequent the seashore, there is a wide variety of mammals (deer, opossums, and badgers, to name a few) as well as plenty of fish, mollusks, and crustaceans in the Gulf of Mexico. But the most special inhabitants are perhaps Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, 100-pound reptiles who were nearly wiped off the Gulf Coast but have rebounded in recent decades in response to a program by which volunteers and biologists work together to collect eggs and release hatchlings. More than 15,000 turtle hatchlings were released in 2008 and the sea turtle population has increased markedly on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winter and spring; fall is hurricane season and summer is hot.